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Full text of "An address delivered by Hon. James G. Ramsay, M.D., before the young ladies of Concord Female College, at Statesville, May 29th, 1863"

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AN ADDRESS 



DliWVERED BY 




. Jaies G. Eaisay, M. D., 



/ ^ 



BEFORE THE 



YOUNG LADIES 



OF 






AT 



STi^TESVILLE, 



MAY 29TH, 1863. 



Dr. Ramsay's Address. 

A.t the request of the Faculty and pupils 
of Concord Female Colleg-e, we this week pub- 
lish Dr, Ramsay's interesting- address, deliv- 
ered in the chapel of the Institution on the 
29th of last May. We were necessarily caused 
to delay its publication until the present issue, 
on account of the press of business, but it has 
lost none of its interest, and will repay pe- 
rusal.- — ^The Iredell Express, December 3rd, 
1863. 



Ladies and Gentlemen: 

The circumstance under which we have convened to- 
da}', renders it eminently proper, if not imperative, that the 
reflections of the hour should be, mainly, upon the subject 
of female education. When we remember that the 
Preacher hath said, ''there is no new thing- under the 
sun," it mig-ht savor of affectation to say, that I have 
nothing- new to bring- to your attention and if it should be 
my province to indulg-e in the repetition of what others 
may have inculcated, under similar circumstances, 1 shall 
derive consolation from the reflection, that inspired prophe- 
cy has also proclaimed, that "precept must be upon 
precept, and line upon line." 

Education is one of the most prominent features, as 
well as the most efficient lever, of civilization. To its 
meliorating influence we owe, in an eminent deg-ree, 
our elevation above the brutes which surround us. By 
it we are literally broug-ht out from our pristine rude- 
ness, and trained up to beauty, happiness, and usefulness. 
— Let me here be understood to speak not merely of men- 
tal, but also, of physical and moral training- — of the com- 
plete and rythmical developement of the whole being-; 
which is at once the desig-n and necessity of our nature. — 
The Creator did not permit man to fall from his first es- 
tate of innocence and purity, that he mig-ht continue to 
g-rovel in darkness and misery, else He had never opened 
a door of escape; nor are the blight and mildew of the 
fall entirely consonant with man's nature, else he had 
never soug-ht to emerg-e from their slime and filth. — The 
reflection, then, is as consolitary as it is rational, that the 
arm of Omnipotence is always out-stretched to help those 
eng-aged in toiling up to the elevation of the sons of God. 
The advance has been slow, but it cannot be doubted that, 
during- these, six thousand years, the world has made much 
solid and substantial prog-ress. More than four centuries 



4 
ag-o, Jack Cade, an Irish adventurer, having- g-ained some 
advantages in a rebellion against Henry VI of England, 
is represented by Shakespeare as berating Lord Say, in 
this style: "Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the 
youth of the realm: and whereas before our fathers had no 
other books but the score and tally, thou has caused print- 
ing- to be used: and contrar}' to the King-, his crown and dig- 
nity, thou hast built a paper-mill. It will be proved to thy 
face, that thou hast men about thee, that usually taulk of 
a noun and a verb; and such abominable words, as no chris- 
tian ear can endure.'' Such were the sentiments, the great 
dramatic poet, attributed to one, who aspired to the throne 
of Eng-land, in the middle of the fifteenth century. Doubt- 
less much poetic license was used, to convey much truth ; and 
the sentiments attributed to Cade were not of a perfect in- 
dex of the ignorance of the more common people of those 
times. 

Let us advance two centuries later and contrast, the 
estimate which the Puritans of New Eng-land, placed upon 
education, with that of Cade in the times of Henry. I am 
aware that h is the fashion of the times, to deride and tra- 
duce the Puritans; but who will not applaud ihe law, 
which sprang- from their customs and decreed that "none of 
the brethren shall suffer so much barbarism in their fam- 
ilies, as not to teach their children and apprentices so much 
learning- as may enable them perfectly to read the English 
tongue." 

In the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy 
six — more than a century later — our fathers met in conven- 
tion, at Halifax, in this g-ood Old North State, and framed 
a State Constitution. They went a step further, than the 
Puritans of the preceding g-eneration, and as an evidence 
of their appreciation of the blessings ol education, and as 
an earnest of their intention to secure the same to their 
posterity, they decreed: 

"That a school or schools shall be established by the 
Leg-islature, for the convenient instruction of youth, with 
such salaries to the masters, paid by the public, as may en- 
able them to instruct at low prices, and all useful learn- 



5 
ing shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more 
universities." The advance here, we see, is from private to 
public instruction, and is placed beyond a contingency. 

The arts have contributed, within the last few 
centuries, most successfully, to the perpetuation of science. 
The art of printing, the discovery of the mariner's compass, 
the application of steam to locomotion, and electricity 
to the transmission of intelligence, have rendered the at- 
tainments of one age so accessable to another, that know- 
ledge is, to a great extent, a thing of memory and its ac- 
quisition a labor of synthesis. Notwithstanding all this, 
it must be conceded that ignorance, like ^'spiritual wicked- 
ness," is still abroad in the land, even "in high places." 
No age can, without a peradventure, secure its own eleva- 
tion to its successor, nor can the attainments of one gen- 
eration become those of another, without an effort. Each 
generation has, substantially, to emerge from the same 
level, and toil-upwards for itself; and the same is true of 
every individual. Hence it is that history is certainly 
repeating itself; and the joys and sorrows, reverses and 
triumphs of one generation are those of another. Hence 
it is that the same college at which the mother was in- 
structed, is preserved for the daughter; and the same 
truths which were taught the one, are applicable to the 
other. For this reason, every little girl in my presence, 
must learn to labor, and labor to learn. Those, then, 
make a fatal mistake, whether they be parents or children, 
who suppose that such progress has been attained in the 
art of teaching, as to preclude the vigorous employment, on 
their part, of all the energies and appliances which were 
indespensable in former times. 

The providence of our fathers, and the facilities of the 
age have given us educational advantages, surpassing any 
preceding age or country, if we except, perhaps, the com- 
mon school system of Prussia, and a few of the universities 
of the old world. But it is a most remarkable fact that, 
until within comparatively a recent period, nearly all 
the educational facilities of the times, have been afforded 
to males, while the female portion of the human family has 



6 
been most scantily provided for. It is a melancholy, and 
at the same time a most sig-nificant fact, that it is only 
in countries blessed with knowledge, and especially with 
Christianity, that women have attained to social position, 
and any elevation above that of practical slavery. In Mo- 
hammedan countries, even the middle classes of females 
— who are said to enjoy far more liberty than the higher 
— are shut up in one end of their houses, and the key of 
the only door leading to their apartment is held by the hus- 
band. It is a great privilege to be permitted to go in and 
out at pleasure. Pigs, dogs, women, and other impure an- 
imals, are lorbidden, by law, to enter a mosque; and the 
hour of prayer must not be proclaimed by a female, a mad- 
man, a drunkard or a decrepit person. Polygamy is the 
rule with the wealthy Turks; and hundreds of thousands 
of most beautiful and lovely females are shut up within 
the walls of the harems — slaves to the sensuality of the 
Sultan. These female slaves are sold in the slave mar- 
kets of Constantinople; having been previously bought or 
impressed in Circassia — a land famed, ever since the days 
of Sarah, the wife of Abraham, for the beauty of its fe- 
males. The Persians are said to have been the first to carry 
their wives and children with them to the field of battle. 
They do so, they say, that the sight of all that is most 
dear to them may animate them to fight more valiantly 
in their defense. And yet every grandee in Persia has 
his harem of incarcerated women; and the monarch his 
seraglio — a perfect city in minature — where women, alone, 
fill all the offices, even to that of chief equerry, and cap- 
tain of the gate. Notwithstanding thischivalr}^, and boast- 
ed affection for the sex, the law which requires the testi- 
mony of four women, when the declaration of two men is 
sufficient, evinces the true estimate, and real contempt, in 
which their women are held. 

'^The Shaster, or Hindoo Bible, forbids a woman to see 
dancing, hear music, wear jewels, blacken her eye brows, 
eat dainty food, sit at a window, or view herself in a mir- 
ror, during the absence ot her husband; and it allows him 
to divorce her if she has no sons, injures his property. 



7 
scolds him, quarrels with another, or presumes to eat before 
he has finished his meal." If the Hindoo women are like 
many Americans, it is difficult to conceive of a state of self- 
denial more g-alling- and intolerable than that of never be- 
ing- permitted to see dancing-, hear music, wear jewels, 
sit by a window, and view themselves in a mirror except 
in the presence of their husbands. Were these rules ob- 
served among us, many of our better halves would grow 
exceedingly affectionate, and the demand for our life-giv- 
ing presence would be constant and imperative. No Hin- 
doo woman is allowed to give evidence in a court of jus- 
tice. Even the higher classes are forbidden to read or 
write; the ignorance and superstition of the people inducing- 
the belief, that these accomplishments would unfit the fe- 
males for the duties of domestic life, and bring untold mis- 
fortune upon them. Wives never call their husband by 
name but always say, ''the master;" and yet, so strong is 
the natural affection which the great — but to them un- 
known — God has implanted in the breast of these deluded 
women, that when permitted to leave the zananah, they 
frequently accompany their masters to the field of battle, 
and when wounded, implore their husbands to kill them 
to avoid falling- into the hands of their enemies. 

The ancient Kgyptians believed the Nile would not 
overflow and fertilize the soil, and thus enable them to 
raise beautiful crops, unless it was appeased by a human 
sacrifice. Hence, it was their annual custom to select one 
of their most beautiful maidens, and after decorating- her 
in the most magnificent manner, to plunge her into the 
stream, where she perished beneath the waves, and 
furnished food for their crocodile g-ods. A similar custom 
is said to have prevailed in Africa upon the Niger. 

In no country in the world, perhaps, is the condition of 
women more deplorable than in Africa. In the depart- 
ments of Dahomey and Ashantee, the women perform all 
the manual labor^ even to the building of their houses, while 
the men regale themselves in indolence and ease, looking 
on while their wives perform these labors, with more com- 
placency than women look upon their toiling husbands 



8 
in christian countries. At the death of a King- his wives, 
and his slaves of both sexes, often to the number of one hun- 
dred, are put to death, from the superstitious idea that he 
will need their attendance in another world. 

Were it not for the fact, that is becoming- fashionable 
to eulogize England and her stable institutions, I should 
not allude to the reasons given by some of her male 
lawg-ivers, for the law which enacts that ^'sons shall be 
preferred before daug-hters," in the distribution of 
property. The complacent lawgivers say, ^'the sons 
shall be preferred," because they are "the worthiest of 
blood." On the contrary it is affirmed, that women are ca- 
pable, in law, of serving- in almost all of the offices of the 
Kingdom of Great Britain. It must not be forgotten, 
however, that this privilege extends to but a very few of 
the women — to those only, who are so fortunate as to be 
descended from the nobility. The great mass of the women 
of England are in the eye of the law, not only of baser 
blood, than th«ir noted lords and sisters, but all of them, 
are bloodless creatures when compared with the lords of 
creation. In Republican Rome the women inherited equal- 
ly with the men; and so it is in .Republican America. 
It is to be hoped that women will study this subject 
of blood — will enlarge upon the reasons which have satis- 
fied the male lawgivers of England, that sons are "the 
worthiest of blood," when compared with daughters — 
before they conclude to supplant the republican institutions 
of our fathers, with the monarchical systems, under whose 
tyranny they groaned; and to escape from which they en- 
dured untold hardships; and poured out the crimson current 
of life itself, upon victorious fields of strife and carnage. 

Such was and such is still the degraded condition of 
women in Mohammedan and Pagan lands. Cast now the 
eye abroad over the nations covered with the light of know- 
ledge, as with a garment, and with the blessings of that 
Christianity which comes "with healing in his wings," 
and has elevated women from their low estate and given 
them husbands that love, defend and cheerish them, sons 
that rise up and call them blessed, and nations that accord 



9 
to them the place allotted by heaven — and draw the con- 
trast. Look at the picture, my female friends, and day by 
day, at matin and vesper, your hearts will exclaim with 
Mary of old, "My soul doth mag-nify the Lord; for he hath 
reg-arded the low estate of his handmaiden, and exalted 
them of low de^-ree: for he that is mig-hty hath done for me 
g-reat thing-s; and holy is his name." 

There is an awakened feeling- throug-hout the civilized 
world with reg-ard to female education; and we hail this as 
the harbinger of brighter times for future g-enerations. It 
must be confessed, however, that even at this day, and in 
this country, many erroneous ideas and prejudices exist 
upon this subject. Because woman's physical, and perhaps 
her mental and moral conformation is not identical with 
man, she is too often denied their full development: and 
because the Creator denominated her a help-meet, it has 
been too g-enerally assumed that her position must be sub- 
ordinate.— Physiologists inform us that, as a general rule, 
her brain is a fraction smaller than that of man; and we 
all know that her frame is more attenuated, delicate and 
beautiful. The brain of Madam De Stael, however, weig-hed 
equal to thatot the intellectual giant Byron, who "stooped 
to touch the loftiest thought." It may well be doubted 
whether any mental advantage remains with man; because 
if he excels in one department, woman does in another; if 
his intellectual faculties are more vigorous, hers are more 
sprightly; if his power of combination is superior, her im- 
agination is more vivid, and her sentiments and emotions 
are far more perfect. 

Notwithstanding the awakened feeling and progress in 
the few past years, with regard to her education, she has 
seldom, if ever, enjoyed the advantages of the lordly sex. 
Where are woman's universities, and how long and unin- 
terruptedly has she been permitted to remain at the few 
schools and colleges, scarcely deserving the name, which 
have been doled out to her, as a favor, rather than as a 
right? It will be time enough to decide this question, when 
she has been permitted to enter the lists, and compete 
with man upon equal terms 



10 
A strang-e-atid as we have seen a Hindoo notion—is still 
prevalent, in some parts^ that education unfits a woman for 
the duties of her station in life — that it makes her pe- 
dantic and affected, and causes her to abjure "the orna- 
ment of a meek and quiet spirit." If this notion is correct, 
then ignorance is the best civilizer of the human race; and 
ignorance of the duties of the female, in her station in life, 
the best qualification for fulfilling them. In the ironical 
language of Sydney Smith, ''women are delicate and re- 
fined only because they are ignorant; they manage their 
household only because they are ignorant; they attend 
to their children only because they know no better." If 
women, who have little education, are vain and pedantic it 
is only because they have never taken large and tranquil- 
izing droughts from the Pierian spring — a little more 
knowledge would sober them. Vanity and pedantry are 
prompted by the supposition, that the diffusion of knowl- 
edge is not equal and general; and by the presumption 
that their possessor luxuriates in rare and uncommon at- 
tainments. No lady is vain because she possesses teeth 
and hair, two eyes and cheeks, but because it is a fact, eith- 
er real or imaginary, that her teeth are more pearl -like, 
her hair more glossy, and her ringlets more beautiful, her 
eyes more facinating and sparkling, and her cheeks more 
ruddy and inviting than those of other women. The cure 
for literary vanity, is to render high intellectual attain- 
ments more common: pedants and blues will then become 
extinct, or migrate to more genial climes. 

It has been said that * 'women have, of course, all ig- 
norant men for enemies to their instruction, who being 
bound (as they think) in point of sex, to know more, are 
not well pleased in point of fact to know less." This 
accounts at once for the numerous and silly objections 
which are from time to time raised against female educa 
tion, and for the imperfect opportunities afforded women for 
mental improvement. We are not sure that even learned 
men have not a little jealousy; and it is by no means cer- 
tain that they would not feel themselves shorn of much 
of their importance, if compelled to abandon the monopoly 



11 

of science, and compete upon a common forum, for the wreath 
of victory, with the weaker sex. Nor is pedantry confined 
to women or to literary characters and pursuits. Vanity is 
a common weakness of both sexes, and every pursuit. It 
is found, as the offspring- of ignorance, every where — the 
farmer and mechanic, the physician and lawyer, the preach- 
er and butcher (not to mention the dancing- master,) all 
have it; and the most ignorant are infested, perhaps, most 
of all. It was the wisest man who pronounced all thing's 
"vanity and vexation of spirit;" had he known less, even he 
might have been proved vain and presumptious; because, 

"Fools rush in where ang-els fear to tread." 

The conclusion of the whole matter is, that knowledge 
is the best cure for conceit and folly. 

Again: a want of proper appreciation of female educa- 
tion is evidenced in the eager pursuit of riches, and the 
worship of Dives to the exclusion of Minerva; and unless 
more correct ideas get abroad, on this subject, the full 
development of the female mind cannot be attained, in this 
countr}^ The mania for riches is furious, so much so, that 
it subordinates everything else to its service. Even knowl- 
edge is sought for that it may contribute to wealth. The 
true path, in the opinion of many, to happiness lies, not 
through the temple of knowlege, but though the tables 
of the money changer. It is impossible, as a rule, that 
property can remain, undiminished, in the same hands, in 
this country, longer than one generation A father toils 
and accumulates property, to be divided among his chil- 
dren, to be again subdivided among theirs; and thus the 
elevation to riches is scarcely gained, until the cumula- 
tions of a life time of toil and labor like the stone of 
Sysephus, roll bounding to the level whence they came. 
When a richly stored mind comes to be valued more 
than glittering wealth; when knowledge is esteemed of 
more value than costly array; and when it is sought after, 
not only as the lever of power and the key to the coffers of 
gold, but for its intrinsic worth, as the way and means to 
happiness and usefulness, then, and then only, may we 



12 
look for a proper appreciation of female education, in this 
country. Thus we may look for female schools, colleg-es 
and universities, where the little miss will learn something- 
more than affectation and cant; when her time will not be 
consumed in '^practicing- attitudes" before the glass, and 
growing- sentimental over billet doux, albums, and novels; 
and when she will cease to be a thing- of gossamer and 
tiffany — a nolime-tangere of roug-e and pearl-white — but 
being- educated for practical life, she will become a prac- 
tical creature, and fill her true position in the famil}^ and 
in society. Education is properly divisible into two stages 
or departments, which are complements of each other. 
The first is parental; the second academic. The greatest 
impediment to the advancement of the child in school, is 
the deficiency, or entire want, of parental discipline and 
training-. It is scarcely possible to realize the untold evils 
inflicted upon the world by the improper discharge of pa- 
rental duty; or to over estimate the blessings of training 
up children in the way they should g-o. I solemnly believe 
that the dissolution of the United States, once the pride, 
glory and strength of America, and the calamities of the 
present fartricidal war consequent thereon, are eminently 
referable to this cause. We all know that within the past 
quarter of a century, perhaps earlier, there has arisen — 
not only at the North but at the South also — a dashing, 
flashing, impudent exquisite, called ''Young America." 
The "young hopeful" was confided, in his earliest year?, to 
the darkey nurse at the the South, and Irish help, at 
the North, while his mother was gadding and tattling 
from house to house, or if perchance at home, lolling on 
her sofa, in most profound reverie over the last novel; the 
father, perhaps, in the meantime, discussing mint-juleps 
and politics in grog shops and taverns, or hybernating at 
the faro-bank. Every whim and caprice of "mother's dar- 
ling" had to be gratified. Chains, toys, dogs, darkies and 
helps, were alike chartised, for his amusement or appease- 
ment whenever his vindictivness evinced itself in kicks 
and squalls. Before he had shed his pin-a-fore "the little 
man" had set up for himself. His nocturnal perambula- 



13 
lions were begun, and his mother did not know he was out; 
they were continued and he did dot care whether she knew 
it or not Raised up thus in contempt of parental law and 
authority, he proceeded to defy civil and religious laws. 
The fathers of the republic were old fogies to him; inno- 
vation was his progress — the Bible and the constitution 
were obsolete, and his shekinah was "manifest destiny" 
and 'Hhe higher law." Having nearly the whole race of 
his contemporaries for accomplices, he operated for the 
destruction of order, law and government, and finding co- 
operators both North and South, has, we fear, but too well 
succeeded. 

Depend upon it, my friends, children must be governed. 
Folly is bound up in their hearts, and there are occasions 
on which the rod must not be spared. Children governed 
well at home, are obedient at school, and submit to the 
laws of their countrj^. — When taught habits of industry at 
home, they will not be idle at their books. When taught 
to toil with iheir hands, in useful labor, they strive to 
learn i;i mental effort. Useful labor thus becomes a habit, 
which brings forth fruit, an hundred fold, upon the great 
field of life. On the contrary children not governed at 
home, will not submit lo government at school. The lit- 
tle girl, for example, who has been indulged in every 
whim and foolish notion at home, will not only be incor- 
rigible at school, but the man that takes her for a wife, 
will find it ''better to dw 11 in the corner of a house-top," 
than with her ' in a wide house.' Will she be the virtuous 
woman described by Solomon who openeth her mouth 
with wisdom, and hath the law of kindness under her 
tongue? Will her hands hold the distalf, and layeth she 
her hands to the spindle? Will she rise while it is yet 
night and give meat to her household and a portion to her 
maidens? No, she will be and do none of these; but 
whether married or single, she will, as Paul sa3^s, learn to 
be idle, wandering about from house to house: and not only 
idle but a tattler also and a busybody, speaking thin.s 
which she ought not. 

A profound truth is poetically expressed when we sav, 



14 

" 'Tis education forms the common mind, 
Just as the twig- is bent the tree's inclined." 

First impressions are the most important, because the 
most lasting-. — There must be a reform in family education. 
To this end, as parents, we must learn first to g-overn our- 
selves; and second, to set a proper example before our 
children. No one who cannot g-overn himself is fit to 
g-overn others: and the same is true with a parent who 
teaches one action and practices another. These thing's 
require much thought and self-denial— constant vig-ilance 
and effort, and, when properly performed, much prayer for 
g-uidance and direction. But all this, and much more, 
must be submitted to and endured, or the end cannot be 
attained. Substitutions may answer in the warfare of 
nations, but not in the warfare of life. The school and 
academy only continue and inforce that instruction and 
mental dir.cipline, which shculd beg-in at home. Napoleon, 
anxious, and at a loss what to do for the education of the 
French people, inquired of a lady what the youth of the 
nation needed in this respect, and her laconic reply was, 
"mothers." If France had had the rig-ht sort of mothers, 
the "reign of terror" would not have entitled her to the 
appellation of "the maniac of the nations." Let us take 
warning. 'Is there a mother present, to da}-, who has 
neglected personal effort, and is relying upon this or any 
other institution of learning, ur upon any combination of 
fortuitous circumstances, for the formation of virtuous hab 
its in her daughter; she may find, when too late that she has 
fatally erred. Is there a patriot here who has neglected 
family government, and is relying upon schools and the 
general diffusion of knowledge to promote order and per- 
petuate good government; he will permit me to tell him, 
that he is attempting- to purify the streams which flow 
from a corrupt fountain. No, let us abide by the fact, that 
it is maternal influence — exerted for the most part in the 
quietude of home- — which must be the great agent in the 
hands of God, in bringing back our guilty race to duty 
and to happiness. ''^ 

*.->ee The Mother at Home, pag-e 149. 



15 
It may be laid down as an axiom, that education should 
be commensurate with the influence for g-ood which its 
recipient is capable of exerting-. —Judg-ed by the test, fe- 
male education should be most thorough and complete. It 
is true that at woman's bidding- Adam ate the fruit 

"Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste 
Brong-ht death into the world and all our wo." 

At her behest also, the head of John, the Baptist was ex- 
hibited in a charg-er. The beauty of the wayward Helen, 
not only kept the ancient world in arms for ten long- years, 
but was the cause, also, of ^'woes unnumbered" to Greece 
and Troy. Mark Anthony, and the mig-hty Caesar kneeled 
in turn, before the beautii'ul but proflig-ate Cleopatra, and 
forg-ot to conquer while entang-led in the meshes of love. 
But it were an ungracious task to continue this narrative 
of evil influence and crime. Let us turn to the brig-ht 
side of the picture. The celebrated traveller Mung-o Park 
bears this testimony to the g-oodness and kindness of 
woman. — 'In all my wandering-s says he, ''I found women 
uniformly kind and compassionate, and I can truly say as 
my predecessor, Mr. Ledg-ard, has said before me: 'To a 
w^oman I never addressed myself in the languag-e of decency 
and friendship without receiving- a decent and friendly 
answer. If I was hungry or thirsty, wet or sick, they did 
not hesitate, like the men, to perform a generous action. 
In so free and so kind a manner did they contribute to my 
relief, that if I was dry, I drank the sweetest draught, and 
if hung-ry, I ate the coarsest morsal with double relish.' " 
What would the world be without the kind iind beneficient 
influence of woman? The dew of Hermon fell not more 
g-cntly upon the mountains of Zion, than her g-entle looks 
and benig-nant smiles — yea her crystal tears fall with life- 
giving- power and gentle balm upon the efforts of virtuous, 
and even wayward man, while traveling- throug-h this vale 
of tears. With angelic affection she cradles our infancy 
upon her bosom; and when sickness comes she bathes the 
aching- brow, and in the stillness of the long- nig-ht, when 
man and nature rest, her watching- eye refuses to slumber. 



16 
and star by star fades away, she, solitary and alone, awaits 
the dawning- lig-ht. When in answer to her prayers our 
diseases are rebuked, no heart turns more devoutfully thank- 
ful to onr God; and when the fresh earth shall cover our 
mortal bodies, no tears will fall — no heart will bleed — like 
hers: and no hand but her's will plant the ever living- 
green upon our g-raves — the sad but true emblem of her 
never dying- affection. 

'•There is none 
In all this cold and hollow world, no fount 
Of deep, strong-, deathless love, save that within 
A mother's heart." 

No nation, on the tide of time, has g-rown g-reat and 
strong-, when women were not strong- and g"reat, honorable 
and honored. Their g-reatness and streng-th may not have 
been visible, but must have been felt — may not have been 
accorded, but surely existed. — x\mong- the Hebrew women, 
Sarah was a faithful wife, Jochebea, a faithful mother 
Meriam a prophetess, whose visit to the Red Sea, and 
whose song- of praise to that God who had ^'triumphed 
g-loriousl}', and thrown the horse and his rider into ihe 
sea'' as she struck the loud sounding- timbrel — inspired the 
courage, elevated the aspirations and fixed the faith of the 
chosen people. When we turn to the republics of Rome 
and Greece we find that, althoug-h, a Sempronamig-ht dance 
"with more grace and art than became a virtuous woman," 
yet there were the chaste Lucreta, the innocent Virgilla 
and the patriotic Vetruria. The Grecian mother could 
send forth her sons to battle with the injunction to return, 
with their shields or upon them — to conquer or die. It is 
said that the gifted and eloquent Pericles was indebted to 
the beautiful and accomplished Aspasia, for much of his 
success in life. Plato asserts that this most extraordinary 
woman was the preceptress of Socrates, and composed the 
celebrated funeral oi"ation, which Pericles delivered upon 
those who fell in the Peloponessian war, which was the 
crowning" effort of his oratory and has immortalized his 
name. We cannot hush the voice of war, but we can calm, 
for a moment, the tumults of passion. , Let us look back 



17 
upon the broad land of Washing-ton. We know what it 
was — strong", great and g-lorious; but we know not — no, 
the wisest seer among- us knows not — what it shall be. 
This we know of the sacred past; The United States were 
not g-reat and mighty without the agency of great and 
good women. There was no man like unto the father of 
his country. Washington was a good and great man, be- 
cause he had a good and laithful mother. That mother 
once replied to the encomiems, which the Marquis de La 
Fayette, lavished upon her son, 'T am not surprised at 
what George has done, for he was always a good boy." 
Such was the modesty and such too was the faith of the 
mother of Washington — truly ^^a good tree bringeth forth 
good fruit." 

Randolph, although a genius of transcendent ability, 
was neither so great nor so good a man as Washington; 
but he has told us that he was saved from French infidelity 
only by the recollection of the time, when his sainted 
mother took his little hands in hers, and causing him to 
bow at her knee, to pray "Our Father which art in heaven." 

"O Mother, sweetest name on earth, 

We lisp it on the knee — 
And idolize its sacred worth, 

In manhood's ministry. 
And if I e'er in heaven appear — 

A mother's holy prayer, 
A mother's hand and g-entle tear. 

That pointed to a Soviour here 
Shall lead the wanderer there." 

Young Ladies: I have, at detached intervals and at 
great inconvenience, gotten together these somewhat des- 
ultory remarks. It has been my aim, 

"To pour the tresh instruction o'er the mind 
To breathe the enlivening- spirit, and to fix 
The generous purpose in the g-lowing breast." 

If I have only imperfecly succeeded, I shall be most ampl}^ 
repaid. And now permit me to ask you, why you are here? 
Why was this edifice erected, and this college instituted at 
such a cost of money, and amid so many prayers? Your 



18 
fathers and brothers are, perhaps, far away upon fields 
of strife and blood; and your mothers and sisters toiling- 
and economizing- at home while you are placed here. You 
are not here that 3'ou may idle your time away in listless 
folly, and indulge your fancy and pride in dress and pleas- 
ure. You are not placed here, alone 

"To guide the pencil, tni-n the tuneful page," 
and cull the flowers only from the g-arden of knowledg-e. 
No! no!! my young- friends, think me not unkind when I 
tell you, that although you are young- now, and your hearts 
light and gay, this may not, wiM not, always be the case. 
May a long life of happiness, and a g-reen old ag-e be 3^ours; 
but remember that care and sorrows will come, and s'orms 
of adversity may cross your path. It is to prepare for the 
journey of life that 3^ou are placed here. Learn to labor, 
and labor tc learn. Store your minds with useful know- 
ledge. Submit to the regulations of your teachers, they 
may appear arbitrary and useless, but the self denial ac- 
quired thereby, will be useful under far greater trials and 
difficulties, in after life. Wrap up, clothe yourselves while 
here — the storms of life will surely overtake you. Keep 
your young- hearts pure; and let nothing that is impure 
and unholy obtrude itself upon your thoughts. Do these 
things and beauty and loveliness will attend your foot- 
steps, happiness will wreathe its g-arlands around your 
brow, earth will be your paradise and heaven ycur home. 

Permit me, in conclusion, my friends, to indulg-e in a 
few remarks, which seem to be called for by the exigencies 
of the times. 

Two years ago, this was a happy land, and peace and 
prosperity were within our borders. The locomotive ca- 
reered along its iron track, in sportive majesty, bearing- 
along the gay and lovely among- men and women; and the 
copious products of the workshot and farm, in exchang-e 
for the rich merchandise of foreig-n nations. The song- of 
the merry boatman re echoed from the adjacent hills as 
his richly freighted vessel rode upon the gentle bosom of 
our rivers. The whistle of the plough-boy and the song- 
of the maiden fell sweetly upon the ear of tlie good mother 



19 
and the venerable father, as they reclined at ease, beneath 
the shade and shelter of their peaceful home. — But the 
scene has chang-ed. The Union of the States, that 
Washing-ton and Webster regarded as inseparable from 
liberty, is rent asunder, red armed war stalks through the 
land, and '^carnage has sat down to her repast." The 
plough-boy has left the half-ploughed field, and clothed in 
martial panoply, hastened away to the tented field: and 
the maiden's merry song is subdued into the funeral dirge. 
At morning-, noon, and night, the father s and mother's 
eyes rest upon the vacant seats of their sons, and like 
Jacob of old, the partriarch exclaims, '^Joseph is not, and 
Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away — all thing-s 
are against me.'' 

Wars are afflictions which spring not from the g-round. 
They are the scourge of the Almingty upon the haughty 
nations that trample under foot His blessings — disregarded 
his teachings and will have none of His reproof. As a na- 
tion we haveforgotten the admonitions of our fathers. They 
founded the Republic upon the virtue and intelligence of the 
people, and warned us that to preserve its blessings, the most 
uitiring efforts should be made, not only to cultivate the 
head, but also to purify the heart. We have paid but lit- 
tle attention to their precepts. The mind has indeed, been 
cultivated, but the heart has been too much neglected, and 
virtue has been crucified, while the superscription has been 
in Greek and Latin and Hebrew. A fatality seized upon 
us. We fondly believed that the Union was to be perpet- 
ual. We read, indeed, in history that Babylon the great 
had fallen. That Ur of the Chaldeas was no more. That 
"Thebes with her hundred gates," and the empire of the 
Herods had returned to dust and nothingness. We knew 
that the empire o£ the Caesar's and Alexander's arose and 
flourished, but decayed and fell — but stricken with judicial 
blindness, and without stopping to interrogate history, or 
to ponder upon its teachings, we fondly believed our cities 
would rise and our harvests would wave, and peace and 
plenty, quiet and concord would bless 'Hhe land of the free 
and the home of the brave," until the mighty God should 



20 
come, to reap the harvest of the living and the dead. Our 
chart and compass were thrown aside. We have escaped 
the whirlpool, but have been wrecked upon the rock. 

Let us hope that it is not too late to take warning-. 
Let us see to it that we cherish the spirit of liberty — ra- 
tional, reg-ulated Constitutional Liberty, at the leaven of 
our hearts: and while our armies are striving- upon the en- 
sang-uined field for national independence, let us see to it 
that our individual liberties are safe Let us dispel our 
delusions and study history anew. The times are again 
upon us that try men's souls. The work before us is noth- 
ing- less than a new solution of the problem of self-g-overn- 
ment, and a rebuilding- of the temple of liberty. Let us 
cease to worship men, or the work of men's hands, Unions or 
Confederacies, Empires or Monarchies; but let us return to 
the worship ot the Lord our God, let us bow alone to truth. 
I call upon the mothers in Israel, upon ^^both the young- 
men and maidens; old men and children" to bow to truth 
alone — truth social, truth political, truth eternal. Let 
light shine! Be afraid of nothing- but error. Must any- 
thing- be kept in darkness? it is evil, show it. — Let others 
do as they may, but as for me, with the help of God, I 
henceforth say to truth, as did Ruth to Naomi: — "Entreat 
me not to leave thee, or to return from following- after 
thee; for whither thou g-oest I will g"o; and where thou 
lodg-est I will lodg-e: th}^ people shall be my people, and 
thy God my God."